Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Almond Trees Were in Bloom in Morocco

almond blossoms

I had spied many small trees in bloom as I travelled inland from Tiznit to Tafraoute. Some had pink blossoms, others white. I had wondered if either of them were almond blossoms and it turned out that they both were.

almond tree near Tafraoute

Not all of the almond trees in Morocco were as healthy as this one. Unfortunately many were much shorter and scrawnier.

The Tafraoute area (south of Marrakech) has an almond blossom festival every year, around mid to late February. I was there in late January so I missed it.

between Agadir and Marrakech

Travelling by bus from Agadir to Marrakech I was in awe of the almonds in bloom in the valley below the road. Unfortunately it is a little difficult to take pics through a bus window, while it was barrelling along.

A few days later I hired a driver and asked him about whether or not almonds self-seed themselves, as I am used to seeing fruit trees planted in carefully laid out rows, while these almond trees were helter skelter. But I was told that almond seeds do not produce a tree that will produce good almonds and therefore all must be grafted and then planted. So I think that some of the trees that are growing in difficult places (see up the hillside in the background of this pic) must be self-seeded and those growing healthily, though not organized, are grafted plants.

a typical shop, this one selling dates (many different kinds),
raisins, dried apricots, almonds, and garlic

I also found it interesting to note that almonds in Morocco are not cheap. In the Tafraoute area they were $9/kilo and in Marrakech, for the tourists, they were $13/kilo ($6/lb). In a bulk store here we buy them for $10/kilo.

Generally in Morocco the prices are not indicated. You must bargain. There is one price for the locals and another for the tourists. I have read that Germans, Americans and Japanese pay the highest prices!

What is unusual is that in Tafraoute and at the carts in the Jemma El Fna square in Marrakech, the prices of the dried fruit and nuts were clearly labelled.

4 Comments:

Blogger Dee/reddirtramblings said...

What an interesting post. Do almond blossoms smell good like almond extract?~~Dee

4:49 AM  
Blogger Miss Canthus said...

Dee, I wish I knew. I had a horrible cold and therefore a stuffed nose, which lasted for most of the time I was there. I tried smelling things every now and again, but it was useless.

10:21 AM  
Blogger kate said...

This was great fun - I loved reading your posts about Morocco. The Bougainvillea are incredible - as are the palms, the almonds in bloom ... and well, I wish I lived in such a beautiful place.

9:15 PM  
Blogger Tyra in Vaxholm said...

Lovely, I adore almond blossoms!

12:04 AM  

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